ONE of the region's pilot nurseries for delivering increased free childcare has come in for criticism by inspectors.

Langlee Primary School Nursery is one of seven early learning centres across the Borders trialling an increase in funded early learning and childcare from 600 to 1140 hours.

By 2020 the additional hours should be available across the whole Borders.

Education bosses at Scottish Borders Council believe Langlee Nursery is capable of catering for up to 100 three-, four- and eligible two-year-old children.

But experts from the Care Inspectorate found the centre, which is part of the new £10 million Langlee Primary School, is struggling to cope.

Inspectors weren't happy with the lay-out of the new nursery and highlighted the 'high number of accidents' that had happened as well as a shortage of staff.

A spokeswoman for the Care Inspectorate said: "Providing lunch for a large number of children provided a significant organisational challenge and resulted in a poor experience for children.

"Staff tried hard to make lunch positive and did ensure children had something to eat and drink but opportunities for independence and children's choices were limited.

"On the day of our visit it was apparent that the space allocated to the nursery was not working well.

"The quality, layout and aesthetic appeal of play activities for children over three needed to be significantly improved.

"There had been a high number of accidents in the nursery and we asked senior staff to audit these to see if there was a pattern to time, event or children involved."

Langlee Nursery is made up of two classrooms and a central atrium area.

And most children have access to an outdoor play area as well.

Parents praised staff in their responses to questionnaires sent out by the inspectors.

But the inspectors also found problems with the turnover of staff and the need for bank workers to fill in.

The spokeswoman added: "There were acknowledged challenges in the staff team.

"The nursery had increased in the number of children quite significantly in the last year and the staffing had lacked continuity.

"Additional staff needed to be employed to ensure the children's needs could be met and this was being addressed."

While previous inspections of Langlee Nursery by the Care Inspectorate led to gradings of either 'very good' or 'good' the latest inspection found the quality of environment, of staffing, and of management as only 'adequate' with only the level of care and support still deemed 'good'.

A spokesperson for Scottish Borders Council said: "The council has already taken significant steps following the care inspectorate visit and has addressed a number of the matters raised, for example improving lunch routines.

"SBC takes very seriously any recommendations made during these inspections and regularly monitors progress.

"We are confident that the matters raised in the report are being addressed and additional support will be provided to ensure good progress is achieved quickly."